I'm having trouble communicating | Ask Jigsaw | Jigsaw

Ask Jigsaw: I’m having trouble communicating

Ask Jigsaw: I’m having trouble communicating

Thursday, 04 February 2021

Hello, I’m having trouble communicating and having general conversations with people I know and don’t. Mostly I think it’s the fact that I don’t have anything to share with people that they will find interesting and that makes me feel like I am a boring and plain person. Do you have any advice? 

-Alex

Hi Alex,

Thank you for your question. A lot of us have experienced difficulties with communication, and the current Covid-19 restrictions don’t help matters! We’re not doing much so we have less news to share, and we’re also a bit out of practice when it comes to socialising.

 

An icon of a paper and pen on a teal background
Emma
Jigsaw Clinician
Be present. When we worry about how we’re coming across, we can get caught up in our own heads and clam up, making it even harder to make conversation.

Starting conversation

Here are a few tips for starting conversations with people:

  • Show interest in the other person. If you feel you don’t have much to say, try asking about the other person. Showing interest in someone encourages them to open up to us and helps us find common ground. Try asking them an open-ended question about themselves, or ask for their opinion on something light.
  • 50% of a good conversation is listening. Try to really tune in to what the other person is saying. Listen to understand, rather than to reply.
  • Be present. When we worry about how we’re coming across, we can get caught up in our own heads and clam up, making it even harder to make conversation. If you find yourself focused on your thoughts, acknowledge this to yourself and bring your focus back to the other person or your surroundings.

This video has some great tips on having good conversations, but remember, not every interaction has to knock your socks off!

Emma
Jigsaw Clinician
Be present. When we worry about how we’re coming across, we can get caught up in our own heads and clam up, making it even harder to make conversation.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Not every conversation we have is going to be a really interesting one. The mundane chit chat we have about things like the weather is as important in keeping us connected as the deep and meaningful ones.

Often people are just looking to connect with you, whether you have news or not. Put yourself in a friend’s shoes, would you find them boring and plain if they didn’t have much to share at the moment?

Challenge self-criticism

Often when we’re feeling self-conscious, we can tell ourselves some very negative things. When those self-critical thoughts pop up telling you you’re boring or plain, challenge them by asking yourself “where is the evidence?” Chances are, there is none. There are some other great tips for managing anxiety in social situations here.

It takes courage to reach out and meet new people or indeed keep going with existing friendships, but the rewards are worth it.

Take care,

Emma

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